My prayer at 3:00 in the morning was a simple one.
“Oh, God, I am lost and so alone.”
Why such depths of despair?
One simple word—disappointment!
Asaph wrote, “… I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3 NIV).
That pretty much sums up what happened to me.
I looked up my book sales, added up the 4-month total, and felt the writing wind go out of my sails. I was $4.81 short of my first royalty check. Short again. For a second quarter.
I put too much stock in a sales report and too little trust in God. I envied those who wrote trash (I turn fifty shades of red, white, and purple when I think of Fifty Shades of Gray—and a judgment I readily admit based on hearsay; not the best way to assess something I know little about).
Once again I was learning some tough lessons through my own dumb mistakes. Oh, my goodness, how many times must I go through this?
What dumb mistakes?
I looked out the wrong window.What do I mean? Think of life as a hotel room
with windows. One view offers a beautiful vista (you can insert an ocean, a lake, a mountain range, a gorgeous garden—whatever your heart and imagination desire). The other offers a view of a sooty brick wall with graffiti.
In my case, I chose the brick wall and graffiti over an ocean view and palm trees (my personal scene choice; let me know yours in the comments below).
I looked out the window alone. I had a number of options that included others. I could have spoken with my wife, Ellen. I could have dropped by a friend’s place. I could have phoned a family member.
Instead, I chose to suffer alone (and I was suffering; I typically don’t pray, “Oh, God, I am lost and so alone” with a light heart). I bought into my own personal lie. I can handle this on my own.
But I’m better now.
My recovery (and a better view) started when Ellen said, “You don’t look so good.”
That opened the door to a long walk and a deep talk.
I learned again Scripture’s truth. “Two are better than one … If either of them falls down, one can help the other up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV).
Here’s what I learned (again—sigh!) and know is true.
My worth can’t be found in a sales report—scorecard, report card, or monthly bank statement. It can be found in the words of Jesus. “God feeds [the ravens]. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24)
I am not alone. I may think I am. I may live like I am. But I am not.
Talking helps. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away …” (Psalm 32:3). I prayed to God at 3:00 in the morning. I talked with Ellen in the evening. Both conversations moved me closer to regaining life’s proper perspective and helped me look out the right window.
Kari Scare at Struggle to Victory shares the same advice in her recent post “The Beacons Are Lit.” “When you struggle, light the beacon. Tell someone you are struggling.”
From past experience, I know my strongest efforts alone battling a sin issue, a personal problem, or feelings of inadequacy tend to sink me further down into the problem. When I call out to God and to others, I find the power to overcome.
Sin’s grip weakens with confession. Solutions emerge through corporate wisdom. My personal value rises as I see myself through the eyes of God and others.
Okay, true confession here. I’ve listened to Sofie Kinsella’s Shopaholic audio book series. Yeah, yeah, not the deepest bit of fiction you can read (or hear).
But one truth shines through in every single story (besides the fact Becky Bloomwood has a major problem with materialism).
The more you avoid the truth the deeper you get into trouble.
I’m curious. If you’ve prayed a prayer like mine, “Oh, God, I am lost and so alone,” what helped you gain perspective?
Behind Every Great Writer by Rachelle Gardner (cartoon panels showing a writer’s life)
What I Really Do @ WeKnowMemes (humorous look at a writer’s life)
Soul Food for Friday: Quotes to Stir Up Your Thirst for Reading by Richard Burkey
God is not who I thought he was by Jon Acuff @ Stuff Christians Like
Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes
Two men. Two eternal destinies.
One common hope.
What people are saying:
Tarver’s storytelling technique as he takes us along with Nick and Wayne’s journeys through opposite eternal pathways is nothing short of genius.–Linda Rondeau, Author of The Other Side of Darkness
Masterfully written!–B. C. Jones
My final verdict…I loved it! –Chris Patton, Christian Business Owner, Christian Faith at Work blog
Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes can be found at:
If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing. Each new post will come directly to your email inbox.
“The more you avoid the truth the deeper you get into trouble.” Boy, isn’t that the truth. We need to find the root cause – and that applies to any area of life – in order to truly grow and move forward in life. That means getting at the truth, something we too often do whatever we can to avoid. Yes, I have prayed a prayer like yours of “Oh, God, I am lost and so alone.” I usually gain perspective through scripture. God almost always leads me to a place in scripture that reminds me of how He never leaves me. My favorite “go to” is the book of Isiah, especially the verses I have highlighted there.
Great post! You really are a good storyteller and at using details. Definitely areas I need to work on. Thanks for the mention and link to my blog too!
Isaiah ranks up there among my favorite books in the Bible. For sure, it’s my favorite Old Testament book. Its message of God’s love and redemption resonates deep within my soul. And talk about truth to hold on to. “,,, though your sins be as scarlet …” “unto us a child is born …” “… He was bruised for our iniquities …”
You can see now what I meant about your post and mine being similar. I appreciate what you’ve already written on the subject of asking for help. Thanks for adding to the conversation here.
Yes, I definitely see how they are similar and compliment each other quite nicely. This topic has come up several times in the past month with the adult class at my church. We talked about essential elements of a Christian Community this morning, and it came up again in there. Several people said something afterward, and I think people are getting the idea more and more of not living as islands and truly what bearing each other’s burdens means. The book of Isaiah reminds me of God’s faithfulness even in our unfaithfulness, and it reminds me of the strength of a community to lead one astray too. Oh, we need Him so much!
Our faith in Jesus Christ anchors community so you’re right when you say, “Oh, we need Him so much!” The more I read Scripture and talk with other Christians, the more I’m convinced of the importance of our connection to one another. At some point, my Boomer generation struggled with institutionalized anything (government, church, job security) and, in some cases, was right to kick against the calcified structures. On the other hand, we’ve emphasized rugged individualism to the exclusion of legitimate community in Christ. Thanks God He hasn’t given up on us and our rebellious hearts.
This is exactly what we talked about this morning, the need for Christian Community. The Bible describes us as one body for a reason… we need each other.
Pingback: “The beacons are lit!” | Struggle to Victory
n e one there
Yes, and feeling much better thank you.